These Uyghur activists are standing up to China

Uyghur Activists speak up about the Chinese internment camps

Muslims in the west of China are facing one of the worst examples of oppression and ethnic cleansing in the world today. East Turkestan, the home of the Muslim minority known as the Uyghurs, has seen the mass-internment of two million civilians who face physical and mental torture until they renounce their faith. The Chinese government calls these camps “re-education camps”.

These camps have multiplied exponentially in recent years with the appointment of a new Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, whose previous appointment in Tibet was famous for its brutal security and surveillance policies. These tactics are now being implemented in East Turkestan.

Though East Turkestan is under Chinese control, Uyghurs tend to have a closer ethnic and cultural connection to other Turkic peoples in central Asia. This means that alongside religion, the re-education camps are aimed at wiping out the Uyghur language, dress and cultural practices entirely.

To achieve this, the Chinese government has created the world’s most extensive surveillance state. Facial recognition cameras, body scanners, mandatory apps, GPS tracking, and surveillance drones cover every inch of the region, and Chinese tech companies like Huawei use these government contracts to develop even more intrusive systems. A recent propaganda video released by the Chinese government shows the extent of this surveillance, with at least 5 cameras in a single classroom which was being touted for its simple teaching objectives.

Beyond simply assimilating the Uyghurs to become more like the Han Chinese majority, the Chinese government’s policies point to a larger agenda. East Turkestan is at the heart of China’s biggest global project, the Belt and Road initiative. This multi-billion dollar project spans the entire globe, and allows China to become an economic superpower in competition with the US. In order to achieve this though, they aim to completely dominate the region of East Turkestan, and wipe out the Uyghur people.

The Uyghur are a Turkic people who mainly live in their historic homeland of East Turkestan, known in China as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. They are predominantly Muslim, and share close ethnic, cultural and linguistic ties with other Central Asian peoples.

East Turkestan is the homeland of the Uyghur people. It has historically been a strategic area in the spread of trade, knowledge and culture for it’s position on the Silk Road. Some of its cities date back to the 2nd Century BC.

In 1949, it was invaded by the People’s Republic of China, and has been under their control ever since. Tensions between the Uyghur people and the Han Chinese majority have always existed, but in recent decades the Chinese government has become increasingly heavy handed in their management of the region.

After the 2009 riots in the East Turkestan capital Urumqi, the Chinese government has adopted the language of the West’s War on Terror in it’s suppression of Uyghurs in the region. Mass surveillance, forced marriages, torture, cultural suppression and internment in concentration camps have become commonly used tools in the region, with a particularly large spike after the appointment of Chen Quanguo as Party Secretary of the region in 2016.

Whilst it is difficult to know what happens due to intense control of media and propoganda in China, reports from detainees who have escaped indicate that brainwashing techniques, such as denouncing religion and praising communism and the President of China XI Jinping, are commonly used, alongside torture and food deprivation.

The World’s Worst Man-Made Humanitarian Disaster

The crisis in Yemen has been called “the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis” by the UN, and with good reason.

The Yemeni civil war is now in its third year, with the conflict in the region stemming back at least 7 years.

MAA is on the ground providing Food Packs, Clean Water, and conducting Medical Camps.

To support MAA's Yemen Emergency Relief, donate now.

Whilst is almost impossible to know the exact numbers of casualties in the conflict, estimates suggest that at least 6,800 civilians have been killed, 10,700 people wounded, 1.2 million people affected by a cholera outbreak, and 85,000 children starved to death.

The civil war began in 2015 when a Houthi militia took control of the Yemeni capital Sana’a. In response, a Saudi-led coalition began military operations to restore the previous government.

Both sides have been accused of targeting innocent civilians and blocking access to aid and supplies, which has resulted in what the UN has called “the worst famine in the world in 100 years”.

Access to food, water and medicine is the most critical need facing Yemenis. 

MAA is on the ground providing Food Packs, Clean Water, and conducting Medical Camps.

To support MAA's Yemen Emergency Relief, donate now.

May Allah give peace and safety to the people of Yemen

This CNN commentator was fired for criticising Israel

Marc Lamont Hill was just sacked by CNN for defending Palestinian human rights

A recent speech by a CNN political commentator, Marc Lamont Hill, has caused a firestorm of social media controversy and led to his sacking from the network.

In a speech at the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Hill spoke about the connections between police brutality in the United States, and the occupation of Palestine by Israel.

He also used the common protest phrase “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

This phrase was seized upon by many to claim that Hill was calling for “the destruction of Israel and the genocide of its Jews.”

Hill denied this claim, pointing out that the phrase has been used for more than 80 years for a variety of different purposes.

This however did not stop CNN firing him from his position as a political commentator, and for others to call for his tenure to be ended at Temple University.

Syrian Refugee Bullied in School

This video shows an Islamophobic attack on a Syrian refugee schoolboy in the UK

A video circulated on Twitter has shown a young Syrian refugee, Jamal, being violently attacked by a fellow student. The video shows Jamal being tackled, choked, and ‘waterboarded’ with a bottle of water by the student, as onlookers stand by and watch.

Jamals attacker is a supporter of a number of far-right groups in the UK, including Britain First and the English Defence League. His brother was arrested and imprisoned in 2015 for violence during an English Defence League demonstration.

One of the most tragic things about the incident is Jamal and his family’s background. Originally from Homs, Syria, Jamal’s family was targeted by the Assad regime with kidnappings, torture and murder, before fleeing to Lebanon and living in poverty. They eventually were able to resettle in the UK, where within months of joining their new school, Jamal and his sister began being bullied.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support Jamal and his family as they struggle to deal with the attacks and abuse.

 

Haji Abdul Wahab – A beloved scholar has just passed away

Haji Abdul Wahab The leader of one of the biggest Muslim movements in the world

Haji Abdul-Wahab, the leader of one of the largest Muslim movements, the Tablighi Jama’at, has just passed away.

Haji Muhammad Abdul-Wahab was a beloved scholar and caller to Islam who was born in pre-partition India.

At the age of 21, he joined the school of Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi in Nizamudeen. After 6 months, he quit his job as a civil servant and dedicated his life to the Tablighi Jama’at, being one of the first 5 people in Pakistan to do so.

Under Haji Abdul-Wahab leadership, the followers of the Tablighi Jama’at now number between 12 and 150 million followers, with their annual gathering, called the Ijtema, being the second largest gathering of Muslims after the hajj pilgrimage.

He was ranked as the 14th most influential Muslim in the world in the annual “Muslim 500” report.

The passing of Haji Abdul-Wahab was greeted with sadness by many around the world, with the President of Pakistan, Imran Khan, tweeting:

May Allah reward Haji Abdul Wahab for his many works, have mercy on him, and elevate him to the highest stations of paradise!

Gerard Butler faces criticism for supporting Israel

Gerard Butler faces criticism after supporting the IDF

Actor Gerard Butler has faced a swarm of criticism from Palestinian activists after posting images of his severely damaged house on social media. His house was burnt following the tragic California Fires that have been ravaging the state for the past weekend.

The criticism is predominantly due to his support of the Israeli Defense Force in a recent fundraising Gala dinner. Many online users pointed out the hypocrisy of Butler in shedding light on the destroyed homes in California, yet simultaneously supporting an army which systematically destroys Palestinian homes year on end.

Earlier this month, Butler along with many other Hollywood celebrities including Pharrell Williams, joined hands to help the Israeli Defense Forces raise $60 million. The fundraiser was hosted by the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) and took place in Los Angeles in an attempt to provide

“A rare and exclusive opportunity to pay tribute to the state of Israel and its brave men and women in uniform.”The organisation stated that the money collected was to be used to “support the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)”.

Butler has always been vocal in his support of Israel and has also expressed his apathy towards any potential criticism in the past. In one interview he stated

“All I know is I love Israel and I don’t worry about any criticism, pro or negative views”.

He ironically also made this statement last month to Walla! News, in reference to his support of Israel:

“I’ll ask someone to burn my house down in Los Angeles so I won’t have anywhere to go back to, and I won’t have any choice but to stay in Israel.”

While we definitely do not derive any pleasure in watching someone go through a loss, especially in such tragic circumstances, it’s important that Gerard Butler is held to account for his support of the Israeli Defense Force. His hypocrisy also needs to be called out and his standing as as a person of influence, necessitate that he is more vigilant in his choices.

One Instagram user said it best, when he said

“I take no joy in this and am sorry you lost your home. I want you to understand tho (sic), this is what Palestinians have suffered for 70 years. Yet you just helped raise another 60 million for the IDF, who brought the same to them. Do you understand their pain now? Unfortunately they are not rich like you so it’s not easy for them to rebuild their homes”.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those that are suffering in Palestine as a result of the Israeli Army’s aggression, particularly in Gaza. We also hope more celebrities and social influencers will be more vigilant before advocating any support for the IDF.

Our deepest condolences are also with all those battling the Californian fires and our prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy. We also pray that all those who have lost their homes, whether in California or Palestine, will have a speedy return.

This political dog-whistling needs to stop

The Bourke Street tragedy was horrific, but blaming the Muslim community is irresponsible

Last Friday, Melbourne’s Bourke Street saw another unspeakable tragedy, this time at the hands of a young man whose family and religious teacher have confirmed was afflicted with mental illness. Hassan Khalif Shire Ali stabbed three people, killing the beloved Melbourne community figure Sisto Malaspina before being shot dead by police.

As the nation came to grips with the tragedy, some Australian media outlets and politicians took the opportunity to score some cheap political points. The Home Affairs minister wasted no time in announcing potential changes to immigration laws, and our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison went as far as to “call out” what he said was the “real problem”, which was “radical, violent, extremist Islam that opposes our very way of life.”

This reaction bears comparison with a similar incident that occurred on the same street in 2017, when James Gargasoulas drove his car into a crowd of people, killing 6 and wounding 30. Since the incident, Gargasoulas has had continuous coverage about the impact of mental illness on his crime, none of which was declared a “lame excuse” by Scott Morrison, as he said on Monday in response to a statement by Shire Ali’s family.

The responses by the Prime Minister, the Home Affairs Minister, and the numerous media outlets who took the opportunity to dog-whistle about the Muslim community has been roundly criticised by Muslim leaders, with the Australian National Imams Council and the Islamic Council of Victoria both releasing statements expressing their condolences to the family of the victim, and condemning both the horrific attack, and the irresponsible response.

In their statement, the ICV said,

“the religion of Islam had nothing to do with the attacks last Friday. To insinuate otherwise is absurd.”

Crowdfunding for Pittsburgh

Muslims have raised over $200,000 for the Pittsburgh shooting victims

Muslims have raised over $200,000 for the victims of a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday.

The campaign was jointly run by CelebrateMercy and MPowerChange on the Muslim crowdfunding website LaunchGood.

After the initial goal of $25,000 was reached in only 6 hours, the campaign went viral and attracted media coverage from around the world.

The shooting itself was described by FBI agent Bob Jones as “the most horrific crime scene” he had seen in 22 years.

The shooter, Robert Bowers, had made a number of anti-Semitic posts on social media before the attack.

May Allah protect all those in danger and bless this initiative

Sinead O’Connor embraces Islam

Famous Irish Singer, Sinead O’Connor converts to Islam

Famous Irish Singer, Sinead O’Connor has accepted Islam today in Ireland, proclaiming her Shahadah (testimony of faith).

She posted on twitter:

This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim. This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant. I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada.”

She also revealed that she had been given her first hijab by her friend Elaine and “got chills all over’ her body when she put it on.  

Her conversion has since been embraced by Muslims online from around the world and she has been inundated with messages of support.

‘Thank you so much to all my Muslim brothers and sisters who have been so kind as to welcome me to Ummah today on this page. You can’t begin to imagine how much your tenderness means to me.’  

O’Connor was born in County Dublin in 1966 and rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra. She has since produced ten solo albums.

She is also famous for singing Conor McGregor’s entrance song “The Foggy Due”. Today, she, however, takes a new road in life, declaring the words “Alhamdulillah” (All praise due to Allah) as she begins her new life as a Muslim.

She has also donned her Twitter page with verses of the Quran and a new display picture encouraging Muslim women to wear the Hijab.

May Allah bless our new sister in Islam and make her conversion process easy and one filled with blessings.

Terror suspect has all charges dropped, yet police won’t apologise.

He was called an ISIS operative because of a notebook in his desk

Last month, Mohamed Nizamdeen was accused of making a document in connection with a terror attack. It was alleged he was an ISIS operative and he was put in supermax prison for four weeks

Yet the only evidence against him was a notebook with a list of names. After the handwriting in the notebook was proven to not be his, the charges against him were dropped

Yet the police are refusing to apologize for his treatment, with the Assistant Commissioners of both the AFP and the NSW police force instead asserting it is an ongoing investigation.

That’s not a good enough explanation for his lawyer, Moustafa Kheir, who took to Twitter to lambast the police over the hasty decisions.

“Police did not have to charge Nizamdeen. They have special powers to investigate terrorism suspects without charge for 2 weeks,” he said on Twitter. “This is ample time for an expert to confirm Nizamdeen’s innocence. Instead, they charged him, permanently linking his name to terrorism.”